Pregnancy is a wonderful time, however many women will not only experience physical changes during pregnancy – they will also experience family, social, financial, emotional and relational changes to which they will need to transition and adjust.
Many women may feel worried and anxious due to:
- Hormonal and physical changes that are occurring in the body
- Thinking about how baby is developing internally
- Preparing for baby’s arrival and labour
- Worries about finances when baby arrives
- Impact of maternity leave on your work or career
- Overload of information for new parents
- How you will cope as a new parents
These stresses or anxieties you experience during pregnancy are completely normal. Ways of coping with stress or anxiety during your pregnancy include but are not limited to:
- Talking to and getting support from your partner, family and/or friends
- Make sure you get enough rest – fatigue is particularly common in the first and third trimesters – while you may not need to have a sleep, lying down and reading or watching TV rather than pottering round doing household chores is a great idea.
- If you are feeling tense or wound up, having a warm (not too hot) bath or going for a walk may help. While in the bath or walking, try to clear your mind of worries – tell yourself you will think about them after the bath or walk. Swimming can be quite relaxing, and can relieve the pain of pelvic ligament problems, even if only while you are in the water.
- Treat yourself to a massage – but make sure the therapist knows you are pregnant, preferably see someone who specialises in pregnancy massage
- Eat well – even if you really don’t feel hungry, make sure you have something at regular intervals. Low blood sugar can exacerbate anxiety.
- If you are working try to schedule some long weekends, or a day off during the week – your employer will probably appreciate your using up your annual leave rather than having to pay you out when you finish!
- Find someone to talk to, whose judgement you trust – it could be your mother or mother-in-law, a sister, cousin or friend.
- If you think you may be depressed or excessively anxious speak to your midwife, obstetrician or GP. There may be an issue such as anaemia, thyroid problems, or pain which can be treated, and they can refer you to a specialist in maternal mental health.
This link provides some common questions and answers that may assist you.
If you are worried, feel completely overwhelmed and had depression and/or an anxiety disorder prior to getting pregnant, you will need to contact your midwife, LMC or GP to ensure you are well supported during your pregnancy.
Alternatively, you can also contact the following services who will also be willing to assist you during this time:
24 Hour Helplines
Health Line 0800 611 116
Plunket Line 0800 933 922
National Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Text the Low Down team for free on 5626